The Premier League 2020-21 campaign begins this weekend, and while there hasn’t been the normal amount of movement when it comes to squads due to the economic issues brought on by the coronavirus pandemic, there have been some considerable moves with stars from other leagues making their way to England.
With action kicking off on Saturday, here are the five new faces you need to know before the 2020-21 season begins.
1. Kai Havertz, Chelsea
The best signing of the summer for any club in the world. Competing in the Bundesliga with Bayer Leverkusen against young stars like Alphonso Davies, Erling Haaland and Jadon Sancho, I’d take Havertz over all of them. This is a 21-year-old, already capped with the German national team, who has already played 150 pro games for Leverkusen. He is a goal-scoring machine from the midfield and one with versatility to play on the wings, as an attacking midfielder or even striker. He is a future Ballon d’Or winner who could get Chelsea back to glory.
2. Gabriel, Arsenal
Everybody knows Arsenal’s issues are mainly in defense, and the club is hoping this is the player who can fix them. The 22-year-old Brazilian, with great size at 6-foot-3, was a star for Lille and has Champions League experience. He is really good in the air, does very well defensively in one-on-ones and has the potential to be a starting center back for the Brazilian national team at some point in his career. While Arsenal’s investments in center back as of late haven’t quite worked out, Gabriel feels like the best of the bunch and is a sure starter.
3. Donny van de Beek, Manchester United
The Dutch midfielder makes the move to Manchester United from Ajax, but where exactly does he fit in? The potential is there for sure, but with a midfield featuring Paul Pogba and Bruno Fernandes in the roles higher up the field, does he take over the defensive midfield role? He’s a player who can do it all but excels more when he can get into the attack. It’s hard to imagine him coming in and not being a starter considering the price tag of over $40 million. He can be a star at United, but the concern early on is where the minutes are going to come from.
4. Rodrigo Moreno, Leeds
The star summer signing for Leeds United in their most anticipated season in decades. They make the return to the Premier League and expect it to be their forever home now that they have financial resources to compete. Rodrigo, 29, comes over from Valencia where he had a very good career and helped the club to beat Barcelona in the 2019 Copa del Rey final — Moreno scored the winning goal. He isn’t a goal-scoring machine, but he is so valuable with his creativity, his smart play and runs that open up space. Last season he had an injury and recorded just seven goals, but he had 19 goals in 2017-18 and 15 in 2018-19.
5. James Rodriguez, Everton
A really significant signing for a club that wants to be considered among the big boys. Everton have talent at the striker position, and the Colombian sensation might just be what the club needs to find some consistency. He’s one of the most talented attacking midfielders in the world, and he thrived at Porto and Monaco, but never really got consistent minutes at Real Madrid. If he can stay high and be that strong No. 10 that plays to Richarlison and Dominic Calvert-Lewin, they could push for more than just a Europa League spot.